Virginia students could receive additional recess time

By Lezla Gooden - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. -  

Krista Kanoed, mother of two and a part-time teacher, says recess breaks are necessary. 

“I think kids learn better when they have breaks,” said Kanoed. “They need movement breaks for physical activity, and for their brains, they need to have a break from constantly focusing on the reading, writing and math.”

The proposed bill would count recess as instructional time by the school board and state. It would not require schools to add more time for recess, but it would give them the freedom to do so. 

Jennifer Amateis, an outpatient counselor and play therapist, says play time is just as important as other subjects for a child’s development. 

“We don't look as play as 'play',” said Amateis. 

“Play is their work. Play is their language, it is the way they process the world. I think there is an argument to be made that kids are doing as much learning in recess as in math class.”

Amateis tells 10 News that recess allows children to learn how to socially interact with each other, which is a skill they will need beyond the classroom. 

The bill states that it will “authorize local school boards to include and require the Board of Education to accept, elementary school, unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills, and overall physical fitness in any calculation of total instructional time or teaching hours.”

“I think if we have teachers that are good at what they do and that they keep their attention as much as possible (the children will be fine),” said Kanoed. "I think the 30 minutes to an hour would be OK for them.”

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